One of my coworkers is expecting a son, and she was talking about her decision to have him circumcised. All of the men in the department, cut and not, were vehemently, legs-crossedly against it. Most of the women--actually all of them except me--were for. It's cleaner, doncha know. Better to do it when he won't remember than maybe have to do it later. Some studies that I can't quite find suggest that maybe it reduces AIDS transmission by 0.01%. It just looks nicer.
I argued a bit about how it's not right to cut off a perfectly harmless and normal part of a person's body, and it makes about as much sense as cutting off a kid's ears just because you think that's normal. ("Hey, he can still hear fine! He won't remember it! Ear-lopping is our tradition! And you won't have to wash his ears!")
But then, because I'm me and I have no discretion, I brought up the one thing neither the pros nor cons had said. "It's, um... it's kind of better with an uncut guy."
Yeah. I know how to kill a conversation dead.
It's easy to talk about your son's cleanliness, or his health, or even his supposed sense of "normalcy." It's likewise easy to counterargue about his bodily autonomy, or his natural state, or the pain of the procedure. But it's somehow taboo to bring pleasure into the conversation. It's pedophilic to consider the pleasure of a baby, incestuous to consider the pleasure of your son, and decadent to consider anyone's pleasure at all ever. It's hard, in almost any context, let alone that of discussing an unborn baby with his mother, to ask "But what about his orgasms?"
Although I certainly believe in, y'know, the whole bodily intactness and autonomy deal, that's just a cover. What I really think about in circumcision debates is the way the foreskin just glides up and down a man's shaft with perfect smoothness, the way it just feels so right in my hand and the way it slides in my pussy. I can certainly have fun with a circumcised penis, it's not a dealbreaker or anything, but all else being equal--I'd never want an uncut guy to get cut, I'll tell you that.
The debate was just for fun, of course; my coworker had already made up her mind to have her infant son strapped down and his penis clamped and an incredibly sensitive and irreplaceable part of his body amputated with no or minimal anesthesia. (She's Jewish, doncha know. She eats pork and works on Saturdays, but when it comes to genital mutilation, that's where she makes her stand.) All I can do is make up my mind that when I make decisions in life, I won't discount pleasure. It's not the only factor--I use condoms even though I think they reduce pleasure--but it matters. Embarrassment or propriety shouldn't make us leave pleasure out of our cost-benefit questions.
Figleaf has a post up on a study that purports to show that lube can actually increase disease transmission in anal sex. The reporting on the study is probably more "SCIENCE SAYS" than actual science, but even if it did prove that lubeless buttsex is marginally safer--it still wouldn't be worth it. Having no buttsex at all is safest, after all; no one needs to have buttsex. To say that the pleasure and comfort of lube don't count for anything compared to small-percentage risk reductions is Just Not Getting It.
Although, if you do have buttsex without lube, it'll probably work better if the top is uncircumcised.